How to do something to every file in a directory using bash?


Question

I started with this:

command *

But it doesn't work when the directory is empty; the * wildcard becomes a literal "*" character. So I switched to this:

for i in *; do
   ...
done

which works, but again, not if the directory is empty. I resorted to using ls:

for i in `ls -A`

but of course, then file names with spaces in them get split. I tried tacking on the -Q switch:

for i in `ls -AQ`

which causes the names to still be split, only with a quote character at the beginning and ending of the name. Am I missing something obvious here, or is this harder than it ought it be?

1
18
8/21/2009 7:12:14 AM

Accepted Answer

Assuming you only want to do something to files, the simple solution is to test if $i is a file:

for i in * 
do
    if test -f "$i" 
    then
       echo "Doing somthing to $i"
    fi
done

You should really always make such tests, because you almost certainly don't want to treat files and directories in the same way. Note the quotes around the "$i" which prevent problems with filenames containing spaces.

40
8/21/2009 7:43:55 AM

find could be what you want.

find . | while read file; do
    # do something with $file
done

Or maybe like this:

find . -exec <command> {} \;

If you do not want the search to include subdirectories you might need to add a combination of -type f and -maxdepth 1 to the find command. See the find man page for details.


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